Romanian MPs have approved the prosecution of one of the nine former ministers suspected of serious irregularities in the Microsoft case
At full speed, the National Anti-corruption Directorate continues its investigation into the already resounding Microsoft case. Prosecutors can now start the prosecution of Liberal – Democrat MP Valerian Vreme, since on Monday the Chamber of Deputies complied with their request with 153 votes in favour and 110 votes against. A former Minister of Communications between 2010 and 2012, currently in the opposition, Vreme is suspected of abuse of office in the procurement of Microsoft licenses.
According to the National Anti-Corruption Directorate, during his term in office as minister, he allegedly concluded an agreement for the purchase of 179 thousand licenses for Romanian schools, which was actually 73 thousand more than the number of compatible PCs existing at the time. The contract caused the state over 5 million Euros worth of damage. Saying he is just a victim of ungrounded allegations, Vreme has dismissed all accusations and has said that all the documents he signed as minister were endorsed by the departments in charge of providing legal assistance, and were substantiated by all the necessary technical documents and licenses.
He will now have to convince anti-corruption prosecutors he is innocent, just as another eight ministers will have to do, ministers who held offices between 2001 and 2012, both in left and right-wing governments. They are suspected of influence peddling, money laundering, abuse of office and bribe giving or taking. In a country where the minimum wage is less than 200 Euros, some of those ministers are said to have received commissions worth millions of Euros under a contract concluded between the Romanian Government and Fujitsu Siemens Computers, a company that presented itself as single distributor of Microsoft licenses and was actually favoured by the Romanian officials, the products sold by the company being over-evaluated and sold at higher prices.
According to the National Anti-Corruption Directorate, out of the 54 million dollars paid by the Government, 20 million dollars were commissions charged by those involved in the signing of that contract, including ministry officials. President Traian Basescu has already authorized the Directorate to start the prosecution of five of the nine ministers involved. The Romanian Senate is to make a decision regarding another two, and the European Parliament is expected to start a similar action against one of the former ministers who is currently an MP in Brussels.